See more synonyms for uptake on Thesaurus.com
  1. apprehension; understanding or comprehension; mental grasp: quick on the uptake.
  2. an act or instance of taking up; a lifting: the uptake of fertilizer by machines.
  3. Also called take-up. Machinery. a pipe or passage leading upward from below, as for conducting smoke or a current of air.
  4. Physiology. absorption.

Origin of uptake

1810–20; up- + take; compare take-up
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for uptake

Contemporary Examples of uptake

Historical Examples of uptake

  • "Say 'at it is," cried Jess, who was quicker in the uptake than her daughter.

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie

  • "I only said that the once," said Wully, shocked at her glibness in the uptake.


    Neil Munro

  • You are slower of the uptake, Anne, than is common with you.


    Mrs. Oliphant

  • "Men are apt to be slow in the uptake," she added indulgently.

  • Now at that time I own that I was not bright in the uptake about such things.

British Dictionary definitions for uptake


  1. a pipe, shaft, etc, that is used to convey smoke or gases, esp one that connects a furnace to a chimney
  2. mining another term for upcast (def. 2)
  3. taking up or lifting up
  4. the act of accepting or taking up something on offer or available
  5. quick on the uptake informal quick to understand or learn
  6. slow on the uptake informal slow to understand or learn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for uptake

"capacity for understanding," 1816, from up + take. Cf. obsolete verb uptake "to pick or take up," attested from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

uptake in Medicine


  1. The absorption by a tissue of a substance, such as a nutrient, and its permanent or temporary retention.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with uptake


see on the uptake.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.